Three killed in helicoptor crash

A HELICOPTOR belonging to the Air Transport Europe (ATE) medical rescue service crashed shortly before 20:00 on January 2 near the village of Janova Lehota (Banská Bystrica). All three crew members on board were killed.

The helicopter was en route to a call in Žilina, Miroslav Jansto, head of the fire crew called out from the nearby town of Žiar nad Hronom, confirmed for news wire TASR.

One eye-witness saw flames coming out of the low-flying helicopter, and two subsequent explosions.

When the fire brigade arrived at the scene of the crash, part of the helicopter was still in flames. After the fire was extinguished, the three bodies were pulled from the wreckage.

According to ATE spokesman Pavol Sveton, the crew, made up of the pilot (47), a doctor (33) and a rescue worker (28), was to have ferried a patient from a Žilina hospital to Banská Bystrica.

"The pilot had 20 years of experience, and was trained to fly at night ... the helicopter was equipped with state-of-the art instruments, and the weather on January 2 was not considered too severe for flying," an ATE spokesperson said.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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